Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Days 78-79 : End of October

It's almost November. Where have all the weeks gone? I can't even keep up lately. Next thing you know, I will be watching the Cowboys play in the Big 12 Championship the weekend before the marathon. Oh wait, that was a dream I had last night :-)

The weekend ahead is quite possibly one of the biggest games in OSU football history and I am a nervous wreck. I also just learned that Dez Bryant got suspended for a full calendar year by the NCAA. It seems our luck with the NCAA continues to be on a downward spiral. I have no faith that we will ever get a favorable ruling from them. I hope our boys keep it together and make a good showing Saturday. I sure hope its our turn this time around.

Yesterday was a day of rest for me and it's amazing how much it helps the body and soul. I did some grocery shopping after work and then came home to watch some DVR and pick up around the house. I also planned the rest of my running schedule and realized I only have 4 more weeks until my taper! I am almost there! My body feels pretty decent today and I hope I can make it through the next 4 weeks unscathed. The hips and knees are a little sore, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I will ice, stretch, and be smart to get to the race healthy! I had a nice, slow run today to work out the kinks and will pick up the pace on the next two runs.

Off to bed. Have a good Wednesday. I have an 8 mile run in the wind tomorrow. Oh joy!

Tuesday, October 27th - 4.0 miles in 38:40 (9:40 pace)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 77 : 16 anyone?

Well I did it. I managed to get through all 16 miles today! Woo hoo! I was a little nervous going into this run because I had been experiencing some ankle/Achilles problems about 3 or 4 miles into my runs lately. I decided to buy an elastic ankle support for my left ankle and give it a go for the run and see if it would delay the onset of the pain. The strategy worked brilliantly and I only had minor problems along the way if I stepped awkwardly or was fighting uphill against the wind. Other than that, it was a pretty successful day on the course.

My route today was a little haphazard. I decided to play it safe and only run 2 or 3 miles in one direction and then head back towards the car and go 2 or 3 miles in the other direction. I did this as a safety net of sorts. If I had any problems along the way, I wanted to be able to easily walk back to the car and not be stranded. This also allowed me to refill my fuel belt with liquids since it was a little warmer compared to the past few weekends. I did get a little bored with the scenery, but this did give me an added level of comfort and I felt I could push through any minor pains without much concern.

As far as the run goes, I was actually pretty pleased with my fitness level and the way I felt after it was over. I was definitely tired and my legs felt like lead, but I wasn't dead tired and my heart rate recovered nicely. The pace of my long runs seems to be going well too. I have opted to do my long runs around a 9:30 pace based on my half marathon times and the McMillan running calculator. I have manged to get this pacing thing down pretty well with the aid of the Garmin and am confident I can keep myself at the right pace to hit my goal. I won't tell you my goal just yet, but I do have a range of times in my head. Obviously this will all depend on my health and the weather, but it's nice to have a general idea of where I want to be on the clock when I hit 26.2.

The long runs are also giving me the opportunity to test out my fueling ideas for the marathon. I have found a couple of Clif Shots I can stomach. Strawberry tastes like a strawberry Pop-Tart and the Mocha is like a chocolate explosion in your mouth. I think these will be my go-to flavors on the course. Timing-wise, I am basically taking a shot about every 3-4 miles based on how I feel. I think this is a pretty safe regimen based on the package instructions and everything I have read along the way. My pre-run meal has been a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter and jelly. I may have to substitute an English muffin for the road, but it sits well on my stomach and I don't want to risk any embarrassing moments out in public. I am pleased with my routine, now if I can just figure out my clothing. I think I am going to order some tights just in case. I am not a fan of tights by themselves, but I will wear some shorts over them if it's cold enough to utilize them on my long runs or race day. I just hope I can wear my orange on race day! Go Pokes!

I have a stepback week ahead which comes at a very welcome time. I think I will probably do some treadmill running on Tuesday and Thursday, while doing my mid-week run out at the lake. This weekend is the showdown in Stillwater and I am sure I will have to trudge through 12 miles next Sunday on less than adequate sleep. Total estimated mileage : 29 miles

I topped the 30-mile mark for the first time this week and have effectively broken both of my previous records of weekly mileage and individual run mileage. 32 miles total this week with a 16 mile run today to cap it off! I am exhausted. Good night everyone!

Sunday, October 25th - 16.01 miles in 2:31:40 (9:28 pace)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Days 75-76 : Lazy Man

I have been absolutely worthless today. The only time I have been out of the house is to get Starbucks and a Diet DP. It's just been one of those days. I finally had a chance to do nothing on a Saturday so I am taking full advantage of a day of college football on the couch. I probably should have gotten out and at least walked around a bit, but I just didn't feel like it. I think I am entitled to some down time after a full week.

Yesterday I did my last mid-week run since I had to push everything back a day due to a customer visit on Wednesday night. It was an easy 4 mile run and everything felt pretty good minus some tightness in the left Achilles once again. I went ahead and bought an ankle support sleeve for my run tomorrow. I figured I could use a little extra support to hopefully delay the pain until later on in my long run. I think after tomorrow I may take an extra day off next week since it's a stepback week and see if I can get it back to full strength. I also went and bought some more energy gels for tomorrow's run and am about to purchase a box online to get me through the rest of my training. Tomorrow's run will definitely be a challenge but the weather looks decent with mid-50s for the morning and not a ton of wind. I may join up with the LandRunner group, but I am undecided. I may stay up too late watching the Texas/Mizzou game tonight to let that happen.

Put another one in the win column for my Cowboys and we have now moved to 6-1 on the season and are eyeing the big Halloween showdown with Texas in Stillwater. I have heard that only 100 tickets remain and it looks like we will have our first sellout in the new Boone. 60,000 strong on Halloween night should make for an interesting evening. Its definitely going to be a long week building up for all the excitement. The best part is that we have a hotel room Friday and Saturday night so we can enjoy a great weekend in Stillwater. Plus, my long run next weekend is only 12 miles which will be nice after a long football weekend.

Hopefully I am writing tomorrow night with great news about a new mileage record. I am cautious though because I think the ankle may give me fits before it's all said and done. I hope not though. I have been icing and stretching all day today to help along the process. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 23rd - 4.0 miles in 38:15 (9:34 pace)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Days 72-74 : Aches and Pains

Over the past 10 1/2 weeks, I have had pretty good luck with no real major aches or pains. The past week and a half has lead to quite a few bumps in the road. My knees ache. My hips are tight. My calf muscles are tight. My left achilles is sore. It seems that the mileage is finally starting to give me a few fits. I tried to lay off a few days last week, but I am guessing the weekend binge in Stillwater didn't really do me any good. So far it's not enough to keep me out of running, but I am definitely on alert when I run now and remind myself to be patient, watch for warning signs, and slow down or stop if necessary.

Today was my first walk break during one of my training runs. It was a cloudy, cool, and misty run after work today. I started about 6:15 which was a little later than I had planned, but I had to work late so it got pushed back a bit. Everything started out really well. I decided to use the patella tendon strap today on my right knee to see if it would help alleviate some of the initial pain. I was impressed with the effectiveness of it and will be adding it to my running garb until after the marathon and I can rehab it back to normal. I definitely am fighting a bit of tendonitis there. It's not painful to the touch so I am relieved it's not something bone related. The bad part of the run hit me about mile 4 today. Tuesday when I was running, I noticed that my left Achilles and ankle were becoming tight and sore. I recall sleeping on my left foot wrong in Stillwater this past weekend, but really didn't pay much attention to it other than the fact it hurt when I first got up that next morning. I guess I have a little lingering pain and tightness from this incident. It's amazing how fickle the body can be and the slightest little mishap can pile on pain when you start adding mileage. I had to pull up a couple of times due to the tenderness of the area. Cardio-wise I was very happy with my run. It felt easy and like I could have run much further. Physically, I obviously have some concerns. I am just hoping to band-aid my way through the next few weeks and not aggravate anything too much. Ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory meds are becoming my best friends.

Tomorrow is another light day. I have 4 miles on the schedule and will run as much as the body will let me. I definiitely won't push much tomorrow since I have the 16 miler on Sunday. I figure my body will be screaming at me then.

Tuesday, Oct 20th - 4.0 miles in 38:20 (9:35 pace)

Thursday, Oct 22nd - 8.01 miles in 1:15:27 (9:25 pace)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Days 67-71 : Wow

What a weekend?!? It felt great to have a day off work and to top it off I was able to spend 3 days in Stillwater. Oh how I love that place!

It's crazy to think about how ready I was to leave when I graduated college. I was naive and thought that if you stuck around Stillwater you were not living life and would just get stuck in a rut. I wanted to move to a bigger city and live the "real" life. I miss the simplicity of Stillwater. It's a living, breathing place that changes more and more every time I visit. I am definitely jealous of the cousins who are still in school and really hope they enjoy ever day they get in college and take time to experience everything they wish. College is one of those places you can never return to in life and get a second chance. Live it up and have some fun. Be disciplined, but don't be scared to live a little while you are there. This is all advice I will give my brother when he leaves for his college of choice. Hopefully he shapes up and chooses OSU though!

The weekend was great. Homecoming at OSU is definitely an event. I know most homecomings in college are just a formality, but this is for real. House decorations, pep rallies, parades, street painting, and the walkaround where tens of thousands of people descend on Greek row to view all the hard work displayed for all to see. I wish I had some pictures of the house decs to show everyone, but I have become terrible at taking pictures. You will just have to take my word for now.I used to think that I have a great memory too, but time and time again I am reminded by things I can't recall when people are telling stories. I guess I should be a more active participant. Hmmmmmm.

Gameday on Saturday was all it was cracked up to be and more. We started the tailgate bright and early at 11:45 am which was plenty of time to eat terribly and drink too much considering kickoff wasn't until 8:15 pm. We watched several games on the tv and enjoyed the sunshine that we hadn't seen in nearly 2 weeks. It was a great day to be a Poke and I ran into several people I hadn't seen in a while. Homecoming always brings us back together and is something I hope continues to be true as we age. The game was great too. My Cowboys are finally looking like a legit contender for the Big 12 south title. I hope we can stay healthy and make a run at a conference title. Our schedule sets up well at home and we will have 3 big showdowns over the next few months against Texas, Texas Tech, and OU. Who can't get excited for OSU vs Texas on Halloween night?!? I hope we finally break the curse of the Longhorns and become the favorite to capture the crown.

Running took a backseat the last few days. I took an extra rest day on Thursday and waited until yesterday to run my long run. I ended up doing 10 miles out at Lake Hefner in 73 degree and windy conditions. It was a little warmer than I wanted and the wind was howling so I am unusually sore today. I have iced a couple of times already and can't seem to shake the stiffness. The stretching and ice has helped some, but I still feel the effects. I am guessing all the lovely choices I made nutrition-wise over the weekend helped as well, but who's counting? I plan to get back on track this week and hope the knees and hips hold out. I have a 32 mile week on taps if I can handle the extra mileage. My plan is to run slow and steady all week. I have a 4-miler tomorrow, 8 on Wednesday, and 4 again on Thursday. I top it all off with a 16 mile run on Saturday to extend the mileage total to another personal high. Wish me luck!

Off to bed for now. I need all the rest I can get this week. Have a great one!

Sunday, October 18th - 10.0 miles in 1:35:12 (9:31 pace)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 66 : Half-Way Home

Today is the halfway point of the week and of my marathon training journey. Two months from now I will be sore, exhausted, and on my way home from Dallas after a successful full marathon run. It just hit me today when the Dallas White Rock facebook page posted it was only 2 months until race day. 2 months. It seems like such a short time.

I am also over the hump at work too. Today was actually my Thursday, so it is amazing to know that tomorrow will be my last day of work this week and then I am Stillwater-bound. Orange Country here I come!

I took another breather from running today and substituted a cross-training workout to try and curb the knee pain. I am really trying to nip this one in the butt before it gets worse. I opted for 15 minutes on the elliptical and then 45 minutes on the stationary bike. I figured it was a pretty decent substitute for my 7 mile run today. I will take the next 3 days off and then will hit my 10 mile run on Sunday when I get home. Hopefully it will be pain free and I can tackle the next big milestone next week.

No updates for the next few days. Have a good weekend. Go Pokes! Beat Mizzou!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Days 64-65 : Is it really that time of year?

Believe it or not, I am sitting here listening to Christmas music on my computer. Yep, you read that correctly. For my regulars, you can tell from several previous posts that I am a country music fan and more specifically, I love Sugarland and Miranda Lambert. Well, Sugarland decided to go ahead and release a holiday album today, so here I am listening to their new stuff and humming to "Winter Wonderland". Crazy! I have to give them props on their marketing efforts. They are hosting a listening party online and to access the feed you have to Tweet about it. Pretty clever!

Week 10. Wow! Week 10. I am halfway to the marathon. If you had told me in February that I would be halfway done with a marathon training schedule in October, I would have said you were crazy. I had always had the slightest inclination to do something like this, but I never really planned on it in the near future. It was always a pipe dream. Kind of one of those things you always say you are going to do, but never really get around to doing it. Man, I am relieved that I decided to take the plunge. I am hooked on this training and pushing myself to new physical limits. I have decided that I am going to buy myself a bike for Christmas as well. It will be a great addition to my workout routine and will put me one step closer to doing a triathlon in the future which has recently made the bucket list. Now if I could just learn to swim without sinking like a rock. Adult swim improvement classes are definitely in my future.

The workout routine has been pretty tame the first few days of the week. I did back and chest exercises yesterday, with about 20 minutes on the stationary bike at the end to loosen up the running muscles. I did arms and shoulder exercises for a bit today and laced up for a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill. My right knee is still being a pain in the butt, but I will get by ok. I have a knot on my leg just below my knee that is always tender when I start running. It hurts for the first few minutes of my run and then goes away. I feel it when I walk the stairs at work and when I get up from my chair at the office. It's definitely something that I will be very cautious of over the next few days. I have a 7 mile run scheduled for tomorrow so we will see how it goes and that will determine if I need another day off or not. I hate to start taking a day off every week, but I may need to ax a shorter run every now and then to keep myself moving through the training plan.

Laundry has become a keynote speaker in my house the past few days so I had to listen to the hum of the dryer all night last night and tonight to get ready for the big trip to Stillwater. The great thing about doing laundry is that I have to stay home and be disciplined. I had the opportunity to go get beer, bad food, and play trivia tonight, but I opted out for a date with my laundry basket and my Trigger Point roller. The roller helps with the fatigued muscles and I recommend it to those who have never used a roller. I picked it up from my physical therapy sessions this summer and haven't let up. It really helps work out the soreness and also helps build your core and stabilizer muscles. I highly recommend it.

Off to bed for now. Have a great day tomorrow. Two more days and I am Stillwater bound! Branded for Life!

Tuesday, October 13th - 3.0 miles in 28:45 (9:35 pace)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Days 60-63 : New Mileage Record

It's been a few days, but alas, here I am on a cold Sunday afternoon on the couch. It's cloudy and cold and I finally have an excuse to wear my favorite Moosejaw pants and a hoodie in my apartment. Fall, oh how I love thee!

Thursday was an added rest day for me because my right knee was not feeling too great and I figured with the impending new mileage record on Saturday I should probably take it easy. Not to mention, I actually ran a bit faster last weekend at the Spirit of Survival than I had planned so my body needed the break. I think it was an excellent decision because by the time Saturday morning rolled around my knee felt 100x better and I was ready to hit the ground running.

Friday night was a pretty easy night for me. I went and had some dinner with some friends and called it a night really early. I was in bed before 10 PM which was just what the doctor ordered. The rise and shine alarm woke me up about 5:45 on Saturday morning and I prepped myself for the 15 mile trek that was awaiting me. I had originally planned to run from Lake Hefner towards downtown, but due to the fact that I was a little slow getting around, I decided Lake Hefner trails would be a much safer bet, plus I could make a pit stop at mile 10 after I made a full loop. I wasn't exactly sure how the body was going to react so this provided me a way to cut the run short too.

The biggest dilemma of the morning was trying to decide what to wear. I absolutely hate running in wind pants and I haven't invested in any cold-weather running pants/tights yet. To that end, I opted for the trusty Brooks shorts and figured the run would warm me up enough to keep me from being miserable. I also donned the Brooks Vapor Dry jacket and my Brooks headband and gloves for added warmth. It was my first cold run of the training session so it was good to get the body acclimated to the weather and prepare for what may come down the road.

I was surprised by the number of people out on the trails. I guess I shouldn't be that shocked with all of the upcoming fall marathons, but it still is pretty amazing to see the number of people out training in the cold on an early Saturday morning. It's always encouraging to know you have some friends on the trails if you ever need anything.

As far as the run goes, I actually paced myself accordingly and it paid off big dividends in the end. I think this may be the first long run that I effectively maintained a 9:30ish pace throughout and managed to properly gel and hydrate throughout my run. I took 2 GU packets with me and loaded my fuel belt with two 8 oz bottles of water and two 8 oz bottles of Gatorade Endurance Formula for hydration. The start of the run was pretty chilly, but I warmed up nicely after a few miles and the fog began to burn off so the sun helped too. I was lucky enough to not have much wind on this run, which is always a welcome weather phenomenon in Oklahoma. I will take a non-windy day whenever I can get it. The pacing definitely helped me work my way into this run and I never really felt sluggish until late in my run when I started to hit the mileage record. Around mile 10 or 11, I started to feel my legs get a little heavy so I popped my last gel and swigged some water to push me through the final few miles. I could tell my stride was starting to become a little sluggish as I wasn't lifting my legs very high, but it was effective and I wasn't experiencing much pain. I just felt really heavy. About mile 14, I began to feel the beginning twinges of a cramp in my right hamstring and right calf, but I luckily made it back to my car without any real negative wear and tear on my body. I will admit that I was more than ready to be finished, but I don't feel like 26.2 miles is out of reach. After this run though, I am beginning to understand what the last 10 miles or so is going to feel like. I know as I add more mileage, that feeling of fatigue will become even more real, but this was a good test and a precursor of what lies ahead. It is definitely going to be a test and I am ready to accept that challenge.

I am very pleased with my new mileage record and can't wait to push it to the next level. This is a step-back week for me which comes at a great time. The schedule only calls for 3 mi, 7 mi, 4 mi, and a 10 mile run this coming weekend. It will be nice to "rest" the body and get ready to step up the mileage chart again the next week. This weekend is also the OSU homecoming game against Mizzou. I am taking a day of vacation on Friday and heading to Stillwater Thursday night to go out with the college kids and relive my youth. It should be an interesting 3-day weekend and one that will make my 10 mile run tougher than it probably should be at this point. Oh well, it's worth it and hopefully we come away with a win.

Time to watch my other Cowboys and cheer them on to victory. Go Dallas, beat KC!

Saturday, Oct 10th - 15.0 miles in 2:23:22 (9:33 pace)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 59 : Hump Day Happenings

It's the halfway point this week and another step up the mileage chain for my midweek runs. Basically my Wednesday run increases by 1 mile every 2 weeks until I reach 10 miles and then I start the taper towards the marathon. It's kinda cool how routine 7 miles becomes over the course of training. I had a great time out on the Lake Hefner trails today and the weather was perfect. It was cloudy and upper 50s and no wind. I guess not many other people agreed with my sentiment because fellow runners were few and far between, but I enjoyed every minute. I did have the nagging pain in the right knee and left hip at the beginning, but it loosened up pretty nicely and I slowly worked my way up to a finishing mile of 8:34. I have been trying to train myself to put in a nice finishing kick on all of my runs so that when my body is tired during the marathon it can expect for me to kick it into gear and finish strong. So far, so good. Nothing else too exciting to report on tonight. O-State got some bad news in the football department today with Dez Bryant being ruled ineligible. It will be a huge hit for our offense, but hopefully someone can step up and take over the reins. Oh yeh, almost forgot, Miranda Lambert is coming to OKC! Watch out Ford Center because Bryan, Megan, and Allison are going to pay you a visit on January 8th for Brad Paisley and Miranda. Hope we can score some great tickets!

Wednesday, Oct 7th : 7.02 miles in 1:04:06 (9:08 pace)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Days 57-58 : Running from the Flu

Well, apparently everyone in my family is sick now. My brother came down with a fever on Sunday. My dad got sick today and my mom is just coming off of feeling bad. As you remember, I went home this weekend to spend time with the family. Uh Oh! I am staying hydrated, resting, and drinking lots of OJ in order to try offset any ill effects that may be coming my way. I loathe getting sick and I have been super anal about washing my hands and being conscious of my daily activities. My fingers are crossed that I stay healthy.

Yesterday was an amazing rest day for me. It was very cloudy and cool here in OK so I took advantage and had a great night of tv watching while eating a grilled cheese and tomato soup. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my Monday.

Today was a fairly routine day at the office and my soreness from the 1/2 marathon began to wear off. I got my happy butt to the gym after work and actually got in a really decent workout. I lifted a bit with the guys and then did a really nice slow run to get the week started. My body was really tight at first, but after a mile or so, I really loosened up and had a good run. I still have some tenderness in my left hip and right knee. It only lasts for a few minutes when I first start running and then it stops. I will watch it again tomorrow when I put in my 7 miles and see how it goes from there.

Nothing too exciting on the plate this week so it should be a great week of running barring any illnesses. I have a 15 miler scheduled for Saturday and then it is college football all day. One more weekend at home and then it's back to Stillwater for America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration. I can't wait! Off to do some stretching and then going to bed early.

Tuesday, Oct 6th : 3.0 miles in 29:30 (9:50 pace)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 56 : Spirit of Survival

Today was the 4th annual Spirit of Survival Marathon in Lawton, OK. It is actually held about 12 miles northwest of Lawton at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Apparently it is the only marathon that occurs in a national park which is kind of a cool little tidbit. I really wasn't sure what to expect as far as the event goes. I had heard this was a fairly small local race, but one that was unique and a good experience. Plus, I had to run 13 miles for my training this weekend anyway, so I figured I might as well go have some fun.

The morning started VERY early. I went to my parent's house yesterday afternoon and spent a lot of time laying around and watching football. Due to OU and Miami's inability to decide who wanted to win their game, I stayed up a lot later than I wanted to last night, but I wanted to catch the end of the game to see how it affected my Pokes. To tell the truth, it doesn't affect us any really, but if OU had won, it would have helped our schedule down the road. Oh well, the season is long and who knows if OSU will actually show up to play each week.

Anyway, back to the race. I woke up this morning about 4:45 am and hit the road around 5:30 so I could get to the race location in enough time to check-in, stretch, decide on clothing, and just wander around for a bit. It was only about an hour drive so I rolled up to the Fort Sill gate about 6:30 and was at the race site around 6:50 or so. It was still very dark and rainy at this point so I just grabbed my race bag and headed back to my car to stay warm. I decided to just roll the dice and shed the jacket at the car and ran in my OSU tech-tee and my Brooks shorts. I figured once the sun came up it would warm up a bit and running would raise my body temp.

I headed to the start gate about 7:45 and lined up in the 9 minute mile zone because I didn't really want to run much faster than that since this was considered a training run and not a "race". A rough estimate, but I think there were about 1000 runners between the 1/2 and full marathon so it was a decent size crowd. Race started on time and off we went. I got mixed in with a bunch of fellow OKC LandRunners at the start and kept pace with them most of the way the first few miles until they pulled away a bit as I backed off my pace. Races always start out too quick for me. I need a good mile or two to find my pace and I was humming along at 8:30 miles at the start so I backed off to the 8:45/9:00 minute mile pace and started to find my groove.

Little did I know, this course was very hilly. From the start, we were rolling up and down the road and working out every muscle in my leg. I could tell this was going to be quite a workout and I felt a couple of twinges of pain the first few miles. I was a little concerned with the location of the pain, but it was only a few steps and then it would go away. The pain was located in the front part of my left leg, near my hip region. I had noticed a tender area there a few weeks ago, but nothing really came of it so I think it may be one of those nagging injuries that is trying to find an excuse to get worse. As I ran, it didn't bother me much any more, but at the start it was too tender for my liking. I need to pay attention and make sure it doesn't present itself again.

The one thing I found very cool about this race was the friendliness of the runners. Being a smaller race, it seemed to attract the "regulars" on a larger scale than I had ever witnessed. People seemed seasoned and just there running to have a good time. It didn't have a super competitive feel which was nice considering the reason I was there and I met a few people along the course that I am sure I will see at races in the future. One thing I have really tried to do this fall as I have been training, is to get myself used to the fact of running without music. This race was a perfect example of why I wanted to wean myself off the need to have something blaring in my ear the entire run. The conversations I had out on the course really motivated me and helped push me through this race. I met a teacher from Bishop, OK, who was as chatty as any guy I have ever met. He told me about his previous runs. Complimented every runner as they went by and genuinely had a good time out on the course meeting people. I ran with him for a good 15 minutes or so and then pushed off from him as he was wanting to run a bit slower than I liked.

The highlight of the race for me was at mile 7 when I met up with Anitra, a teacher from Texas who was running the half as a training run for the White Rock marathon as well. She was about 30 and was in great shape. She had passed me earlier in the race and I caught up with her about mile 7 and started up a conversation. We shared our backgrounds. We shared stories about our training and talked about our expectations. She told me about her family and I told her about mine. We laughed about the intricacies of the running community and both willingly admitted to the fact that all runners have a little bit of crazy in them. We also pushed each other through the race as we talked and encouraged each other along the way. She was in much better shape than I was, but I enjoyed the conversation so I wanted to keep up and share the rest of the race with her. Hill after hill and mile after mile, we booked along at an 8 minute pace and pushed our bodies to respond. It felt great to find a running mate who had the same goal in mind as me. We were sharing the same path in different cities. Dallas will be her first marathon and together we put in a great training run that will be a building block for the future. I thoroughly enjoyed the company and we finished strong with a sprint to the finish, crossing the finish line together at 1:52:13. We gave each other a high five and off we went our separate ways. It was a ton of fun and I wish Anitra the best of luck in Dallas. Hopefully we run into each other at the race, but with 20K other people running, the chances are slim. Moments like these are why I race. The people you meet along the way all have a story. Running without an iPod in your ear allows you to listen and share yours as well. Give it a shot sometime. I think you will find it enjoyable as well.

Now it's off to do some more stretching and icing. My body is a little sore so I think I will take a legitimate rest day tomorrow and do some cross-training on Tuesday. It will be back to the running trails on Wednesday as I hit a new mileage high this weekend with a 15-miler. Up and up the ladder I climb. Eight weeks down. Ten to go.

Sunday, October 4th - 13.1 miles in 1:52:13 (8:35 pace) - Spirit of Survival 1/2 Marathon

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Days 52-55 : Non-Football Weekend

This is the first weekend off since football season started Labor Day weekend. It's a nice change of pace after 4 straight weekends of Stillwater-living. I LOVE going to Stillwater for Cowboy football, but my body is enjoying the break. I did absolutely nothing last night and it was just what the doctor ordered. I caught up on my DVR shows and managed to get some things done around the apartment. Today's plan is to watch football, go visit the family, and prepare for the half marathon tomorrow.

Running was a bit of a chore this week. I wasn't super motivated and my body was a little tender. I did switch out one run with a cross-training workout and did a nice, slow run on the treadmill on Thursday. It's a way for me to kind of slow things down a bit and see if I can regain focus. I know it's a long road to the marathon so I expected to run into some valleys. I think the half marathon tomorrow will be a great motivator and will get me back on track.

About tomorrow, I am going to run the Spirit of Survival 1/2 marathon near Lawton, OK. It is about 1 1/2 hours from OKC and will be a nice change of scenery. I am going to stay the night with my parents tonight, who live about 45 minutes closer so that will cut down on the drive time in the morning and let me catch a little more sleep. Apparently this race is ran on an open-range type course with buffalo and longhorns roaming freely. It is the in the middle of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and should be a nice, relaxing atmosphere. I am not planning on really "racing". My goal is to get in a nice training run and have some fun. The ultimate goal is the marathon so I don't want to screw up and run too hard this weekend and hamper my progress down the road. I will report on the race tomorrow night and let you know how it went.

Off to Amber for now. I hope you all had a great week. Enjoy the weekend and I will try to stay dry tomorrow. The forecast is for rain and 50s. It should be entertaining!

Wednesday, Sept 30th - 6.02 miles in 55:18 (9:11 pace)

Thursday, Oct 1st - 3.0 miles in 29:00 (9:40 pace)

Total September mileage - 88 miles